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they're going to be making the case to these people that this visit from the republican party of alabama is why you should vote for mitt romney. undecided ohio voter, meet a bus full of alabama republicans. what could possibly go wrong? i wonder if they will have matching hats? weekends with alex witt starts now. back to work inside the new jobs number, and how it's playing out on the campaign trail. we've got a live report ahead. it's a conspiracy. the strange side show spurred by the unemployment number. a number of voices weighing in. is big bird a dead duck? the truth behind all the talk that america's favorite fowl could become extinct or have to file for unemployment. and lost a vote. that's coming up in office politics. good morning, everyone, and welcome to weekends with alex
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witt. we'll get to what's happening out there. politics from the front page. new word from president obama and mitt romney on the latest jobs numbers. the president hailing the 7.8% number as a sign of a recovering economy. a .3% drop from last month. mitt romney, meanwhile, downplaying it. >> we learned the unemployment rate is now at its lowest level since i took office. more americans are entering the work force. more americans are getting jobs. too many of our friends and neighbors are still looking for work or struggling to pay the bills. many of them since long before the crisis hit. we owe it to them to keep moving forward. we've come too far to turn back now. >> you realize the number of people in america, the participation of our adults in the work force were the same as when we got elected our unemployment rate would be about 11%. people in this country are having a hard time finding a job. people in this country are having a hard time making ends meet even if they do have a job.
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>> the 7.8% figure is the lowest since the president took office and total employment increased 873,000, that is the biggest jump in a monthly number since june of 1983. the numbers bolster president obama's re-election argument and potentially blunts momentum earned by mr. romney in wednesday's debate. meanwhile, new data spurring a firestorm. conspiracy theorists openly suggested the white house manipulated the numbers. former ge ceo led the crowd with this quote, unbelievable job numbers. these chicago guys will do anything. can't debate, so change numbers. he did not back down in an appearance on msnbc's "hardball" last night. >> i have no evidence to prove that. i just raised the question. >> you didn't raise the question. you said, these chicago guys will do anything so they changed the numbers. do you want to take that back? >> no. >> this was an assertion, jimmying with the number, corruption here, infiltration,
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getting to the -- it's not funny, jack. you're talking about the president of the united states playing with the burp oh of labor statistics numbers. this is nixon stuff. do you want to take back the charge? >> i don't want to take back one word in that tweet. >> joining me now for a close look at the jobs number, and a broiling controversy, chief economist for vice president biden and senior fellow on budget policy and priorities. jared, wow. look at the jobs report first. unemployment standing at 7.8%. non-farm payrolls rose by 114,000. total employment up by 873,000 and the labor force participation rate, that's rising up .1% down to 63.6. >> right. >> give me your grade, your rating of this report? >> this is a good report. it shows some real mow meant numb a couple of important areas. the unemployment rate can come down two ways. a bad way and good way. the bad way, it comes down
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because people leave the job market. give up looking for work. we actually saw that in august, but in september, that 0.3 decline in the unemployment rate was the good way. a lot more people got work. that also tells you, though, the numbers jump around from month to month and you have to be careful to kind of average out over the past few months. now, i did that with the payroll number. that's the 114,000 you mentioned. that's the more reliable number on a monthly basis. average that out over the past three moss adding about 150,000 jobs per month. compare that to the prior three month, adding only about 70,000. real acceleration in job growth and the unemployment rate coming down for good reasons this time. >> something else to look at here. big differences in unemployment when it comes to breaking it down race by race. >> right. >> look at asians. 4.8%. whites, 7%. for hispanics, the rate is almost 10% there. for african-american, it's over 13%.
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why is there such a massive divide? >> you know, it's a big question. the simplest answer has to do with education. if you adjusted those rates for the various education levels within each of those groups, they'd be a lot closer. for example, if you look at the unemployment rate for high school graduates, it's probably around 8% or 9%. college graduates, around 4%. one explanation. and, look, there's still discrimination in our job market against minorities, that's another explanation. >> okay. look, it's not just jack welch, whom we heard from, perpetuating this conspiracy theory. look at these interviews. congressman alan west, senator john mccain both on cnbc. here we go. >> i know. >> you are alleging specifically that the president is engaging in a cover-up of the data. you are saying that the administration is actively manipulating that data. correct?
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>> well, absolutely. >> frankly, i am not enough of an economist to question exactly what those numbers are. our discussion about the warren act that just took place where there are blatant violations of the law, i wouldn't put anything past this administration. >> you know, these are sitting members of congress. >> yeah. >> alan west won, of course. we know his party. he's very conservative nap said, john mccain. are you surprised by his comments? >> i'm very surprised by his comment. all of those comments, they're not just deeply irresponsible, but without a shred of evidence they are casting doubt about a very important number in our economy. now, if you understand the way the bureau of labor statistics collects data, and i used to work for the department of labor, and i used to work for the executive office of the white house. the firewalls are impenetrable and this is an institution that's been delivering day reports with as much integrity as you can imagine for decade
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upon decade. never any suggestion of political bias that's had anything close to substantiation. so if you think -- i'm a little bit -- this has gotten under my skin, alex. if you think that there's something going on there, and you don't have a shred of evidence, you just have to be quiet. now, if you have evidence, let's talk about it. but they've got nothing, and they just didn't like the number. >> okay. so when we talk about manipulating numbers, you're talking about firewalls and the like. a, could somebody, is there a way to do it? or, for instance, the question i asked you about breaking it down by race. and you had an answer to that. but you then talked about let's look at it a different way. let's look at it from a perspective of education. it breaks down differently. is that the way you would manipulate these numbers? is it all about interpretation? or is there a way -- >> no. that's the thing. there's always different ways to interpret numbers, and, in fact,
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jack welch was upset about the very large employment growth number from the household survey. those numbers do jump around from month to month. statistical or sampling error is a common phenomenon in he's kinds of statistics. that is very different, and what i said about education, all of that is true. that's just looking at the numbers from a different angle. that's completely different from saying, the white house is rigging the numbers. >> how about this? i mean, you worked there. when does the administration get the employment numbers, and how much contact do they have with the bureau of labor statistics before these numbers come out? >> so the second part of that question is very important. i want -- glad you asked me that. the first part, typically they get the numbers the night before, but the second part is, none. that -- i worked for the white house for years and i worked for the labor department. there is virtually no contact between the white house and the bureau of labor statistics on any matters that have to do with
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data integrity. it you're talking to the bureau of labor statistics it's going to be something like, when is a particular report coming out? but -- and you asked about, how would these things be manipulated? it's beyond me. i mean, you don't know how tight these data lockdowns are, and there's dozens of people involved who all have high security ratings, encrypted data. i mean, the janitors are not allowed to empty the waste baskets there until after the reports come out. >> wow. okay. >> yeah. so -- an unfounded allegation of ludicrous proportions. frankly, i don't think we should be giving it this much oxygen. >> jared, glad we did at this point, you were able to debunk it from your perspective. thank you very much. see you again. for more reaction to that and new debate fallout joined by amy, white house correspondent for the hill and ed o'keefe for "the washington post." good morning to both of you. >> good morning. >> we're going to start with the unemployment numbers here with you, amy.
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how much do you think the unemployment number blunts mitt romney's debate momentum and do you think the white house is relieved? >> it definitely gave president obama a little shot in the arm, a little boost when he needed it. this is a really important number. it comes a month before the election. most people are watching, and it takes away a key talking point for governor romney. he was saying for 43 months straight, unemployment was above 8%. it's no longer something me can say. >> okay. ed, with respect to the conspiracy theories, despite jared doesn't want to give it more oxygen, just a little bit more here. mitt romney is not latched on to their rhetoric. could all of this talk damage him, though, in the long run? in some ways it's highlighting the fact it's below 8%. this number, 7.8. >> it certainly robs him of the ability to say in a campaign speech as he has since he launched his campaign, that the unemployment rate is above 8%. but as he said yesterday, most americans would agree with him on, you know, we can do better. the number still isn't good.
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i think everyone would agree looking at the numbers that came out yesterday that, you know, 100,000-plus is fine, but really want to create 200,000-plus. you want to see employment growth everywhere. you don't want to see hundreds of thousands of people leaving the workforce. on that, there is general agreement, even among democrats, it could be doing better, but psychologically now, below 8%. saying it months ago. the white house was saying it years ago. other political observers have said, if the unemployment got below 8% the president would be doing okay and probably cruising to re-election. now that it is, it is blunted that argument and makes it harder. i want to back up jared here. i used to cover federal employees. i have been to the bureau of labor sticks and he's right. the firewalls exist. it is virtually impossible to get that information out and having met those career statisticians and economist whose work there, it would be a crime of the utmost degree here in washington if those numbers were skewed at all, and if it is happening, you know, i welcome anyone to flaent evidence, and i'll chase it down.
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that's the kind of story we would love to write in it's true, but i find it very hard to believe it would be. i've been in the bls. he's right. trash can't be taken out, computers can't's taken it. locked down. it's impossible if the numbers are skewed. if they are, i'm happy to write about it. >> a double confirmation on those kind of facts. a new report on the president's assessment of his own debate performance. what is written in politico. at first obamaty think his performance was a complete disaster but began thursday morning watching excerpts and was struck by his own tentative grim bemeaner, especially when he and a more relaxed mitt romney was broadcast in split screen. worst than he thought, according to one person. are you getting the same read from the white house? >> yes. i've heard he was very put off by his performance. but you know, he took that opportunity. looked at his images and turned it around. i think you saw a very different
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president obama thursday and then yesterday, too. he was very encouraged by the job numbers. a little more pep in his step and i think that's the same guy you're going to see come on, come around on october 16th when he faces off with mitt romney again. >> what about this, ed? i want to play what maritt romn said, his 40% line. take a listen. >> clearly,s in a campaign with hundreds if not thousands of speeches and question and answer sessions, now and then you're going to say something that doesn't come ot right. in this case i said something that's completely wrong. this whole campaign is about the 100%. >> two-part question here. was this going to be his answer, had he gotten the chance in the debate to give it, but since he didn't get that chance, he had to trot it out in a postdebate interview? >> not only dl he have to trot it out in the first postdebate interview, trot it out before yesterday's job numbers. clearly, yes, this appeared to be the answer he was ready and willing to give during the
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debate. it have been a good one. giving it to sean, perhaps not as effective as in front of 65 million watching the debate or a campaign speech on thursday somehow finding a way to bring it up's clearly, yes, they understand that has to go away as soon as possible. it blunted his momentum, especially in states like ohio and florida, and, you know, clearly he now has an answer. if it comes up again i'm sure he'll give it. >> the second part of the question. do you think the obama camp knew mr. romney would be ready with the 47% question answer and decided not give him the chance to clear it up with 65, 67 million people watching? >> definitely a missed opportunity. you see it today. they're going to keep attacking him noor video and keep attacking him on bain and you're seeing him release the president's campaign release another -- >> pardon? go ahead. i'm sorry.
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interrupted? somebody talk in your ear. >> sorry about that. >> finish your thought. >> you're going to see them attack again. they're going to keep attacking on -- keep saying that mitt romney is bending the truth. that's something you're going to see in the coming weeks. you're going to see them talk -- they released a campaign ad today appearing in eight swing states and you'll see them continue to the portray that in the comes weeks. >> it's an acquired skill, talking in your ear in the middle of a sentence. >> totally. i didn't know where i was for a minute. >> it's all good. saying it wasn't me. we're going to clear all that up. thank you so much. amy, always good to see you. appreciate it. in office politic, the gop has lost the women's vote for a generation. what one republican is saying this morning. california, you are not dreaming. explaining a sudden rise in gas prices in the golden state and is it spreading? in the buckeye state, victory for the obama camp on early voting. we'll dig into that ahead. ah.
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it's law that just makes sense.
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so here's how a few of the nation's newspapers are reporting the four-year low in unemployment. "washington post," a boom and deprives mr. romney of a magic number. the "new york times," subheading, not a sign of recovery. "wall street journal," headline, hiring notches modest gains. the subheadline, jobless rate slides spars political debate over the health of the jobs market. well, nbc's mike viqueira joins me live from the white house. good saturday morning. >> reporter: good morning. >> what about the job numbers?
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are they being cautious? >> reporter: so interesting, alex. every month, first friday of every month, job numbers come out. whether high or low, the paint by numbers response, yes, they're good, accentuate the positive, in terms of x number, i think 25 consecutive months of private sector job growth even though in some smos completely anemic but say we know a lot of people are hurting. we know the economy's got to get better. the president said that yesterday, but he also went a little further in touting those job numbers and of course the context means so much. two campaign rallies in two swing states, in virginia and ohio. he did the same in both states, largely said the same thing. meanwhile, mitt romney at a campaign rally in virginia downplayed the numbers saying this is not the recovery we want. a lot of people have simply quit looking for work out of frustration, artificially driving the number down. alex in reality talking about the so-called real unemployment rate. that's down as well. a year ago, exactly a year ago last september it was way up
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above 16%. no question coming off the president's poor debate performance, this was something romney needed. comes as become news from a political standpoint not to mention the millions looking for work. >> absolutely. more from jack welch's appearance on "hardball." take a listen to this, mike. >> reporter: do you mean it's a coincidence or do you mean you have evidence that there was corruption during these -- >> i have no evidence. none whatsoever. >> these chicago guys had nothing to do with the -- >> i don't know that. >> why did you say it? these chicago-its will do anything to change the numbers. do you stand behind your tweet? >> i want to raise the question -- >> you did raise the question. >> these numbers defy logic. they defy logic. >> mike, what's the general reaction from the white house? are they staying away from this? >> reporter: you know, you got jack welch, a respected former titan of industry, general electric, led ge for many years.
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>> and us. >> reporter: a minority owner still. let's disclose, and from southern florida, alleging this conspiracy. virtually everybody else saying an outrageous claim to impugn the integrity of these career civil servants over at the bureau of labor statistics. jack welch should be ashamed of himself. officially the white house, josh earnest, white house spokesman aboard air force one telling reporters just dismissing it out of hand. almost refused to even consider it. >> yeah. right at the top of the show, ph too, jared, he echoed this. see you again. the truth about big bird and pbs. could he become extinct? the numbers straight ahead. plus a few loose screws. the saga of american airlines and how did it all come apart so fast? a speed bump! [ wife ] a beached whale!
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now that our three big money headlines, wall street rally. the west coast gas crisis, and what is going on with american airlines? joining me now, a retail and economic analyst. with a good morning to you. >> good morning, alex. >> first to the wall street highest numbers. >> highest in the last five years. dow closed yesterday at 13,610.15. the highest, as i said in five years. 35 points up. and also the blue chip stocks. talking about heinz, general motors. those blue chip stocks were up, the index up 69 points. >> that's pretty great. how about these gas prices which is anything but great in california. these new highs, terrible. >> alex, from the moment i did my notes last night to this morning, gas prices went up. so the average price now in california is $4.61 a gallon. that was up 12 cents just from last night. >> while you slept? >> while we were sleeping last night. >> how long is that going to
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last? >> actually analysts say, experts are saying, not more than five weeks. it's just, this happens in california. on average, gas prices tend to be a little higher because of taxes and environmental regulations there and also the mixing, the switchover. >> that's happening with american airlines? pilots issues and seats coming undone? >> i'm not on american this afternoon, but they had to ground almost 100 flights because the seats were coming loose. they're saying, the spokesperson was saying because of the gunk in between the seats. >> like spilled soda? >> exactly. if you ever lose your pen on flight, don't put your hand down there pu's don't know what you're going to find. that is a reason why the seats are coming loose. insiders are saying it's a mechanism failure and they were trying to remold those seats so they'd be a little better. >> the time cog not be worse. the pilots having issues. >> could not be worse. hopefully get the seats taken
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care of. i can't imagine being on a seat, flipping backwards. might be sort of fun. >> not the kind of drama you want on a flight. >> probably right. >> see you before your flight again. thank you very much. in today's one-minute playback, jimmy fallon providing a satiric al view on the debate playing mitt romney. >> make sure we get a chance to -- >> we should just, shut your yapper a little bit. >> all right, and i respect that the governor -- >> jeb -- do us all a favor and just zhhhh. we don't need you. >> i think that's a little -- >> that's a little -- just leave and do whatever you want. okay? >> i'm the moderator here. >> i'm going to have to ask you to stop talking. okay. jeb, i -- >> now, listen, i -- >> okay. >> ah -- >> oh -- >> yeah. >> i'll tell you -- i know what. >> ah. >> i -- >> jjjjjjj.
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right now, owens corning ecotouch attik insulation is only $11.87 a roll. welcome back to weekends with alex witt. republican presidential nominee mitt romney on the campaign trail in florida. mr. romney kicked off a three-day tour of the state. and the romney campaign, garrett, good morning. how did mr. romney and his camp react to the new job numbers and the conspiracy theories that followed? >> hey, alex. good morning. they actually went through stages of reaction. first issues a statement saying the numbers just weren't good enough. then with governor romney's first appearance on the stump in virginia, he actually said the cause of the, dop in the unemployment was people dropping out of the workforce. this month was not the case. finally at the end of the day, looking for things like pointing
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out workforce participation has fallen over the last couple of years and remained as high as president obama was in office, unemployment would be much higher and late last night advisers pointing out a large uptick in part-time work as being part of this number, which i suspect will be part of the attack lines in the comes days. as for the conspiracy theory, they're going to deal with the numbers as they exist, say advisers, but didn't go out of the way, that the conspiracy theorists are wrong. they're leaving those fires rage on the right for a little longer. >> yeah. okay. well, that's not unexpected. thank you very much for that report. moving on to a victory for the obama campaign on early voting in ohio. a federal appeals court in the buckeye start reinstated early voten ot final three days before election day meaning that people in the key battleground can continue to cast ballots depending on the decision of their local board of elections. the obama camp filed that lawsuit arguing that everyone should have a chance to vote on those days.
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nbc news senior political director mark murray joins me. a very good morning to you. >> good morning. >> how important is the court decision that clears the way for the last three days of early voting in november? >> very important for the obama campaign in this ground game. they've actually used early voting as a way to be able to get all of their sure supporters in these states that already conducted early voting. so ohio is a state that's early voting. they started doing that on october 2nd. the battleground state of iowa is also an early voting state, and you've actually seen president obama, his campaign surrogates, when they campaign in these early voting states, urging people, one, to be able to register, make sure they're registered and also vote early. banking all the sure obama votes to concentrate on the swing voters and the undecideds closer to election day. >> yeah. earlier in the week, the pennsylvania judge ruling that voter i.d. rules, they can't be
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imment impleme implemented. how does that affect another key state? >> people were worried the pennsylvania voter i.d. law could make the pennsylvania contest a little closer than the polls subject. right now president obama in most polls in the keystone state is up in high double digits. this could disproportion knitly affect minorities and others seen to be democratic voters, could end up hurting them, but this ruling that the pennsylvania voter i.d. law essentially will not be the law for 2012 pretty much eliminates a lot of democratic worries that that law could end up making the race closer than it currently appears in the polls. >> i want to know if you see a big difference in 24 hours, because with the debate fallout, may be blunted by the job numbers. people were talking about thursday morning, then friday morning, and getting an early indication of how the debate may have played out in the swing states? >> we're still looking for good polls. right now it's probably best to see the swing state polls that come out monday, tuesday,
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wednesday. at that point we'll have a good idea after people have digested the debate as well as these job number, but alex, i think you pointed to it very well. the obama campaign got a very big gift from the job number, just to be able to turn the subject from wednesday night's tough debate into something that was seen as a positive, that the unemployment rate went below 8% and just change the story. allows them to move on to thursday's debate between joe biden and paul ryan as well as the remaining two debates between president obama and mitt romney. >> in terms of thursday's debate, did the president's performance at all during that make the vp debate more vitticcal? critical? >> increased pressure on joe biden. for democrats to get in a very good performance and you ent up looking, paul rye sn a very well-spoken person, although this is going to be his first debate on a stage like this. joe biden has done this many times before. he actually might have a little
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advantage. as we all know sometimes joe biden is saying things that actually draw attention. so i do think that this is going to be a must-see debate for the country, and, of course, the obama campaign is hoping for a little better performance. >> very gracious way to talk about things that the vice president said in the past. mark murray, thank you very much. >> thanks, alex. in this week's office politic, christy todd whitman, first to defeat an uncome bent governor in an election. today new jersey's only female governor. talks chris christie and her role about bringing a very famous dog to the white house. first we talk about the female vote. >> do you think that the gop is at risk of losing the female vote for a generation potentially? >> if they're not careful, yes. absolutely. i mean, it's interesting, because young women today don't remember the women's movement. to them, they've grown up with
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roe v. wade, grown up with birth control, a lot of jabbering that makes them uncomfortable but they don't think it's going to go away and it could. we could alienate women to the point it will take a long time to get them back. >> how about the latino vote? governor romney is losing it by a wide margin. >> another one. comments like the 47% hit. i know he has now defined as far as where his position would be relative to obama's policy of allowing students who are in this country, who came in as children, they'd give them a visa to finish their education, and he has said he would support that. >> uh-huh. >> because frankly, again, the position of republicans has been such that, it's build a fence and throw everybody out. and you have a whole huge population there saying, hey, we're working hard in this country. we're contributing. we love it. our problem is that we have m e made, becoming an american citizen so difficult that for many of these people, it's hard
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to get, to get through that process. >> so, then, the latino vote, the immigrant vote, is that lost to the gop for a generation? >> no, i don't think so. because you have to remember also, you have a lot of very conservative members of the latino. a lot of catholics. a lot of people feel very strongly about the birth control and social issues and republicans are more in tune there. you haven't permanently alienated that group. >> you were the first and only female governor in the history of the state of new jersey. how proud that you did that? unfortunate there's not been someone to step in your shoes behind you, but what does that mean to you? >> one of the things i was never going to change, was that i was female. i didn't think about it from that perspective. more to me, the first person to defeat an incumbent governor since the constitution was changed in 1949 and for a while the only female governor in the country. puts you as a role model. you don't run to be a role model, but that's what you
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become, and that's kind of a daunting pross pebt. >> and why do you think you are so comfortable stepping into what could be perceived as a man's world? >> born and raised in it. a very strong mother and grandmother. my father and mother were good partners together and i was raise the with the idea, as long as you worked hard you could do whatever you wanted to. >> i want to talk about the current governor. governor christie. is he the future of the republican party? is he what you want for the republican party? >> chris is a breath of fresh air. politicians who you don't know what they're saying, you know what he says he believes. if he says he's going at something, he's going to go at it. object to his style. confrontational, very jersey. he's getting a lot done and that approach is the future of the party. that approach of up front saying this is how we need to get things done, and i'm going to do it, and i'm going to --
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unfortunately today you have to be a little tough in doing that. >> you think that will work on a national level at some point? >> well, i think so. i mean, i wouldn't count it out. i don't know how it will weigh over time, wear over time in other parts of the country, because it is very jersey, and his approach, but right now people are very supportive. they love it. >> what is your fondest memory of your time in the white house with president george w. bush? >> that we have known each other on and off. served as governors together. probably giving him barney was -- the best thing. >> so he had a present for his wife. a form of jewelry. her chief of staff said he wouldn't like it so he'd taken it back and didn't have a gift. it was her birthday. we just had a litter of puppies. why don't you give her a puppy? >> barney was loved. >> the most watched videos for the white house. >> remember barney cam? so much fun.
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more of our conversation at noon. why mitt romney has the reputation of having a difficult time connecting with voters. coming up, mitt romney ruffles feathers at pbs. what's the truth? could big bird survive if mr. romney gets his way? ♪ tell me how to get to sesame street ♪
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♪ on my way to where the air is sweet can you tell me how to get, how to get to sesame street ♪ >> for all of you moms and kids out there, don't worry. somebody is finally getting tough on big bird. rounding him up. elmo's got to watch out, too. governor romney plans to let wall street run wild again, but he's going to bring down the hammer on "sesame street." it makes perfect sense. >> oh, well. president obama on the campaign trail seizing upon mitt romney's
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budget cutting comments that could threaten tv's most popular bird. what mr. romney had said. >> i'm sorry, jim. i'm going to stop the subsidy to pbs and other things and i like pbs, i like big bird i actually like you to, but not borrowing money to pay china for supporting it. >> and the big broadcasting systems. what's the truth? could big bird be going bye-bye? joining us, from the christian monitor, good morning. >> good morning. >> so are big bird and pbs really in any danger here? >> well, i don't think big bird's had a week this good in a while. he's huge on twitter now. i think his twitter presence increased like 800,000%, and the thing about big bird and "sesame street" is they have so much outside funding. it's not like "sesame street" will disappear. pbs, the subsidy, it's a sizable
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chunk of their budget and would be a big blow. >>? how much? a perspective? how much the government chips in? >> it fluctuates year to year. 10% to 15%. in 2011, 12% funneled stlu came from the government subsidy. >> definite lay sizable clunk there. pbs has released a statement accusing governor romney of making pbs a political target and not understanding the value the american people place in public broadcasting. how do americans generally view public broadcasting and its funding? >> people are generally very favorable of it. pbs did a study last year where 69% of people were in favor of keeping the public broadcasting's funding, and that was across party lines, even conservatives favored keeping it to the tune of i think 53%. >> hmm. >> so it's something people like, and the thing is, it's such a small part of the federal
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budget. it's less than 0.1%. see if i made $40,000 a year that would be about 56 cents out of my annual budget, would go to public broadcasting. >> that's putting it in perspective. also pointing out, federal funding for public broadcasting has been cut 13% just in the past two years. have we felt an impact from that? >> yeah. in the places that are going to see more of an impact of that are going to be the local stations. it's not going to be the big markets where they have a larger percent of funding from private donors or corporate sponsors. it's going to be the small market, the small market stations that don't have, that a lot of their funding comes from that government subsidy. some of those stations, paula krueger said recently, if the subsidy were cut, phased out
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over theyears as congress was wanting to do, those stations would go dark and they need the free access educational programming the most. >> one last question. if pbs can't afford a big bird, might it downsize to a small bird? >> maybe. i think this is actually a pretty good rallying for big bird. i think elmo has taken over "sesame street" in the last decade or so, but this might be a re-birth for big bird. >> yeah. i think big baird is back. good to talk with you. >> thank you. the nuclear crisis with iran. new evidence economic sanctions may be working, but can they prevent a military showdown? wi, who emailed it to emily, who sent it to cindy, who wondered why her soup wasn't quite the same. the recipe's not the recipe... ohhh. [ female announcer ] ...without swanson. the broth cooks trust most when making soup. mmmm! [ female announcer ] the secret is swanson.
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dramatic developments in iran this week. they could change the trajectory of possible military action with that country's nuclear ambitions. in the past few days iran's currency has plunged some 40% and prices for food, critical
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staples of daily life for the average iranian, they have soared out of reach. will the economic squeeze force iran to back down on its nuclear program? joining me now from "the washington post." welcome. it seems this happened rather quickly this week. what is behind all of it? >> good to see you, alex. it's a bad week to be a currency trader in iran. it's complicated. the pressure has been building on iran's currency for months. this week the bottom seemed to fall out. there's complicated reasons. the sanctions are really having an effect because they're drying up the country's sources of hard currency, such as drying up the oil markets. that's really starting to hurt. >> bottom line here, does it suggest that those, including president obama who urged patience and they said, hey, give the sanctions time to work, were they right? >> well, the iranian leadership suggests that, yes, it's definitely having an impact. there's no question the sanctions are hurting them. the question is whether they'll
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change their behavior. we've seen signs they're getting nervous and waivering a little bit. those uranium enrichment plants are going strong. >> just recently iran actually offered a 9-step plan to the u.s. in regard to the nuclear program. did that go anywhere? >> not yet. it's really interesting. it does suggest that they are getting nervous and they're floating some ideas that we've seen before and they all start with this idea that you have to stop sanctions first. maybe we'll agree to some changes later on, but get rid of the sanctions. that's a non-starter because right now we have so much pressure against the iranian economy and for us to drop that and say, okay, lets a he see, iran, what you're going to do. the u.s. said, no, you have to do better than that. >> this economic upheave val that they're experiencing, how does life on the streets of iran change? especially with the staples of daily life, their food. >> people are in a panic. they've had to give up luxuries
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like electronics, trips to dubai and even red meat is getting so expensive that a lot of families have to do without. now you're seeing bread and yogurt, rice, chicken, the things that iranians have every day. it's getting so expensive that people are starting to panic. they're taking their savings out trying to buy dollars and the dollars are getting more expensive. they're really starting to get squeezed. >> you say in your article, prices are doubling every 40 days. how long can that be sustained before there's upheave val in a big way in the streets? >> this is the real question because so far iran has been defiant and even this week we've seen leaders saying this is not going to affect us, we're not going to cave in to the west, but they're into survival. if things start to look bad, if the economy is on a cliff, that's the moment that leadership could say, okay, we're going to make a deal. that's what the administration is hoping for. we're going to see what's going to happen over the next few weeks, maybe after the election.
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if the economy continues to do as badly as it's doing, there's a real opportunity for a deal that could change the whole trajectory of the nuclear program. >> you know, it is pretty substantively been said by the government that we need change to come about as a result of the people in iran making that change. we cannot make that change for them. >> yes. >> is this an opportunity where that change may come? >> yeah, because, you know, again, the leadership wants to talk tough. they'll sound defiant until the very end but, you know, in the late 1980s when iran was fighting iraq, things got really desperate at home and the iranian leadership had to do what they call swallow the poison pill and make a deal with saddam hussein and end the war. there's hope they'll have to do the same thing. definitely the situation is getting desperate enough. >> it also seems like israel has kind of backed off. are they watching to see what happens now inside of iran too? >> yes. a whole new tone from israel
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this week. all this talk we saw a few weeks ago by red lines. it's been replaced by let's do more sanctions. this seems to be working. let's continue u the pressure on iran. let's continue what seems to be a working policy. we'll see what happens. >> we will see. we'll have you back and talk about it. many thanks. >> thank you. >> that's a wrap of this hour with wooek ends wi"weekends wit" straight ahead, more political talk on "up with chris hayes." and sport sculpted seats. available chevrolet mylink infotainment system. the all-new 2013 chevrolet malibu. ♪ refined comfort to get you in a malibu state of mind no matter what state you live in. ♪ is the same frequent heartburn treatment as prilosec otc. now with a fancy coating
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Weekends With Alex Witt
MSNBC October 6, 2012 4:00am-5:00am PDT

News News/Business. Live news coverage. New.

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on 10/6/2012